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Emily Welker, Published October 09 2013

West Fargo man accused of dealing meth out of shop in Moorhead

MOORHEAD – A West Fargo man has been charged with running a meth-dealing business out of at shop behind the Critters Feed and Seed pet store at 2505 12th Ave. S.

Joseph Daniel Maniglia Jr., 40, was charged Wednesday in Clay County District Court with one count of first-degree sale of methamphetamine, first-degree possession of methamphetamine, and fifth-degree possession of marijuana, all felonies. If convicted, the first-degree sale charge carries with it a potential maximum prison sentence of 30 years.

According to documents filed with the charges, Moorhead detectives were working on a narcotics investigation Tuesday at the shop behind Critters Feed and Seed after getting information from an informant that Maniglia was dealing meth out of the shop and had just received a new shipment of the drug.

The criminal complaint stated that the informant told detectives Maniglia kept his meth in a box in the back of his pickup truck.

When Maniglia and another man got into Maniglia’s truck and drove away from the shop, detectives asked Moorhead police Officer Val Kellen to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle because it had an object hanging from the rearview mirror obstructing the driver’s view.

When the officer asked Maniglia, who was sweating profusely, if he had any drugs in the vehicle, Maniglia told Kellen he had marijuana in the truck, the report stated.

A police dog search of the truck uncovered 1.2 pounds of methamphetamine in a toolbox, 1.3 pounds of marijuana and a small amount of cocaine, court documents state. There was also $18,000 in cash in Maniglia’s pockets.

Rick Gilbertson, the owner of Critters Feed and Seed, said he had no idea Maniglia might have been dealing meth in the shop behind his store, which he subleased to Maniglia about a month ago.

“People brought in four-wheelers, motorcycles,” Gilbertson said. “He was back there every day. He seemed to be working on engines and so forth … He did nothing to make me suspicious or anything like that.”

Gilbertson said he visited the shop often while Maniglia was working there, and doesn’t think his tenant was using the space to cook the meth he is accused of dealing. Still, the idea Maniglia might have been using the space to deal the drug bothers him.

“If I’d had any idea, things would have been different,” Gilbertson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541